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Currently Browsing: urban fantasy
Jul
30

Review: Blade Song by JC Daniels

Review: Blade Song by JC Daniels Blade Song Author: JC Daniels (Shiloh Walker)  Release Date: Aug. 1, 2012 Publisher: Self-published Series: Colbana Files #1 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): e-book Book Source: NetGalley About the book:       Kit Colbana—half breed, assassin, thief, jack of all trades—has a new job: track down the missing ward of one of the local alpha shapeshifters. It should be a piece of cake.       So why is she so nervous? It probably has something to do with the insanity that happens when you deal with shifters—especially sexy ones who come bearing promises of easy jobs and easier money.       Or maybe it’s all the other missing kids that Kit discovers while working the case, or the way her gut keeps screaming she’s gotten in over her head. Or maybe it’s because if she fails—she’s dead.       If she can stay just one step ahead, she should be okay. Maybe she’ll even live long to collect her fee… What I’m talking about:       In a world where shifters, witches, and vampires exist in the open with humans, Kit Colbana fits somewhere in between. She is half-human and half-aneira (think magical Amazon warrior). She was disowned and abused by her family, and after running, has settled down and works as an investigator, helping the paranormals and humans in the Orlando area. Her weakness: children. Knowing this, cat-shifter Damon seeks out Kit’s services to help locate the Alpha Cat’s missing nephew. Kit knows its not an ideal situation, but takes the job anyhow. Soon she discovers she’s gotten way more than she bargained for, including a 24/7 bodyguard in Damon.       Kit is not your typical kick-butt heroine. Kit can hang with the best of them, but she knows she can’t win all the fights. Yet, she continues to pick fights time and time again. She is reckless. She has a chip on her shoulder. She has ghosts in her head (not actual ghosts) and skeletons in her closet. And she gets hurt, a lot. I have to admit, I didn’t click with Kit in the beginning. Maybe because I had just finished reading Gunmetal Magic immediately prior to Blade Song, which featured a uber-messed up, ultra kick-butt heroine, and by comparison, Kit seems too reckless and immature. Kit makes some bad choices… including allowing a powerful vampire (Jude) have a taste of her, knowing it may strengthen his hold over her. I...
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Jul
24

Review: Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews

Review: Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews Gunmetal Magic Author: Ilona Andrews  Release Date: July 31, 2012 Publisher: ACE Kate Daniels #5.5 ISBN: #978-0425256138 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (448 pgs*), e-book *includes novella, Magic Gifts Book Source: Publisher About the book:      After being kicked out of the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid, Andrea’s whole existence is in shambles. All she can do is to try to put herself back together, something made easier by working for Cutting Edge, a small investigative firm owned by her best friend Kate Daniels.      When several shapeshifters working for Raphael Medrano—the male alpha of the Clan Bouda and Andrea’s former lover—die unexpectedly at a dig site, Andrea is assigned to investigate…and must work with Raphael. As Andrea’s search for the killer leads her into the secret underbelly of supernatural Atlanta, she knows that dealing with her feelings for Raphael might have to take a back seat to saving the world… What I’m talking about:      Note: although the book is 434 pages, Gunmetal Magic is only 326 pages, and the rest of the book (108 pages) is the novella, “Magic Gifts”, which is told from Kate’s POV and overlaps in time with some of Gunmetal Magic. “Magic Gifts” was offered as a free novella on the authors’ website in December 2011, and our review is HERE.      When I found out that Ilona Andrews was going to write a book in her Kate Daniels series from the POV of Kate’s best friend, Andrea, I was SOOOOO excited. Andrea and Raphael were my introduction to the Kate Daniels world via the novella, “Magic Mourns” found in the anthology Must Love Hellhounds. I’ve held a soft spot in my heart for the couple since the start, and boy have they had some tough times lately.      Andrea is a hyena-shifter (bouda), but she had a father that was an animal who turned human, making her a “beastkin.” Most beastkins are killed immediately; however, Andrea was kept around to be tortured for entertainment purposes by her sadistic pack. Once she escaped her clan, she dedicated her life to the Order – protecting mankind from the magic that has taken over the Earth. The only thing – she had to hide her true self, so when the Order discovered Andrea was a shifter, she was “retired.” Andrea went into hiding, and Raphael apparently moved on. Let’s just say the opening of this book not only...
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Jul
10

Review: Grave Memory by Kalayna Price

Review: Grave Memory by Kalayna Price Grave Memory Author: Kalayna Price  Release Date: July 3, 2012 Publisher: Roc Alex Craft #3 ISBN: #978-0451464590 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (384 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: When the dead need to talk, Alex Craft is always ready to listen… As a Grave Witch, Alex solves murders by raising the dead—an ability that comes at a cost, and after her last few cases, that cost is compounding. But her magic isn’t the only thing causing havoc in her life. While she’s always been on friendly terms with Death himself, things have recently become a whole lot more close and personal. Then there’s her sometime partner, agent Falin Andrews, who is under the glamour of the Winter Queen. To top everything off, her best friend has been forever changed by her time spent captive in Faerie.  But the personal takes a backseat to the professional when a mysterious suicide occurs in Nekros City and Alex is hired to investigate. The shade she raises has no memory of the days leading up to his brutal ending, so despite the very public apparent suicide, this is murder. But what kind of magic can overcome the human will to survive? And why does the shade lack the memory of his death? Searching for the answer might mean Alex won’t have a life to remember at all… What G & U are talking about: The third book in the Alex Craft series, Grave Memory continues to thicken the tension in poor Alex’s love life and showcases her ever-changing identity.  Ms. Price did not disappoint, and upon finishing this latest installment, Gikany and Una are simply writhing with the implications of the ending! As the novel opens, Alex is trying to fulfill her young dream of opening an office with her best friend, Rianna, Tongues of the Dead Investigations.  Alex is trying to come to terms with the ramifications revealed at the completion of the last novel, Grave Dance, and with it, the distance that now exists not only between her and Death, but also with Falin Andrews.  If you thought Alex’s love life could not get more complicated and confusing…just you wait!  Ms. Price proves that anything, absolutely anything, is possible. Although some secrets come to life through the course of Grave Memory, not all mysteries about Alex and her friends are revealed or resolved.  Gikany and Una were transfixed with the course of the plot.  Ms. Price wove a spell-bounding tale that is gripping,...
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Jul
3

Review: Blood Before Sunrise by Amanda Bonilla

Review: Blood Before Sunrise by Amanda Bonilla Blood Before Sunrise Author: Amanda Bonilla  Release Date: July 3, 2012 Publisher: Signet Eclipse Shaede Assassin #2 ISBN: # 978-0451237460 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): paperback (336 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher/NetGalley About the book: What you can’t see can kill you…       For months Darian and her Shaede guardian Raif have searched for the Oracle who attempted to overthrow the Shaede Nation—and kill Darian in the bargain. But now that they’ve finally found the half-crazed Oracle, for their efforts they are granted a possibility too painful for Raif to imagine, and too enticing for Darian to ignore.       Darian is determined to reunite Raif and the daughter he thought was dead, but her mission quickly proves dangerous when her lover Tyler is almost killed. And when a brooding and mysterious Fae warrior offers his guidance—at an extraordinary price—Darian finds herself willing to risk everything. As her single-minded hunt turns into an obsession, and she and Tyler grow further apart, Darian finds herself caught between the man she loves like a brother, and the man whose love she can’t live without… What B is talking about:       Many years ago, Darian became a creature of her own making through the tragedies of her human life, and was then betrayed by the one being whom she loved and trusted. Now fully awakened to a world filled with more creatures and magic than she could have ever imagined, Darian must once again find her place as the only one of her kind. She is unique and coveted, a potential pawn to those who would use her, and powerful beyond her own understanding. But, with trusted friends and true love on her side, this time she doesn’t have to be alone.       I’m of two minds about Blood Before Sunrise. On the one hand, it’s an urban fantasy novel filled with action, fascinating creatures, mystery, and even romance. The fight to save the world comes down to, literally, the last possible moment, and Ms. Bonilla never lets up on the tension that increases as the story progresses. Throughout the novel I was involved and on edge, tense and worried. Just not so much for Darian.       Darian is a loner by nature and circumstance, and she’s understandably built some serious walls around her heart, a history more fully dealt with in the previous novel in the series, Shaedes of Gray. But, in Blood...
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Jun
18

Review: Enslaved in Shadows by Tigris Eden

Review: Enslaved in Shadows by Tigris Eden Enslaved in Shadows Author: Tigris Eden  Release Date: June 18, 2012 Publisher: Book Rhythm Shadow Unit #1 ISBN: #9780985636 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): e-book Book Source: Author About the book: A man’s Past leads to his Future……  Agent Stone of the Shadow Unit’s job is simple, most days. Work in the Shadows, police his own Kind. When an unwanted assignment turns out to be his darkest fantasy from the past, Draven can’t help but be conflicted by the memories of the past and his responsibilities in the future. But his decision has been made. The Heart of a woman is Tested…….. Jes can’t let the tall dark agent back into her life.How can she trust any man after what she’s endured. Years of abuse have broken her down and she doesn’t have room for more. The man she turns to for help hasn’t abused her physically but he’s tormented her emotionally. A past betrayal left her scarred, but also brought her life. Can she accept him into her heart and trust him again? One will survive and adapt, the other will realize hearts can be mended even if it’s a bit too late. The road to forgiveness sometimes only brings more pain. Unexpected events set their lives on two separate tracks leading to one outcome. Lives will be changed and an emotional battle to save their souls will leave them both trapped and enslaved in their need for one another. What I’m talking about: The story begins about five years in the past with best friends Jesminda and Belinda on a get-away-from-it-all trip to Belize. While relaxing at a bar, tall, dark and handsome Draven catches the eye of Jes and likewise, Draven is inexplicably drawn to Jes. This leads to an evening of hot jungle sex, where names are not allowed. Draven, a wolf shifter, feels too close to human Jes, and decides he cannot afford more than one encounter. Forward ahead to present day, where Draven is part of an elite supernatural enforcement team set up to keep the paranormal appearing normal to the outside world. Unfortunately, there is a bit of bad going down and a human drug runner, Marcus is kidnapping vampires to drain them of their blood. Draven’s team is in charge of protecting Marcus’s ex-wife and her child – Jes and her five-year old girl, Faith.  The first few chapters of Enslaved in Shadows lays out a fairly complex world full of supernatural...
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Jun
16

Review: Live and Let Drood by Simon R. Green

Review: Live and Let Drood by Simon R. Green Live and Let Drood Author: Simon R. Green  Release Date: June 5, 2012 Publisher: Roc Secret Histories Novel #6 ISBN: #978-0451464521 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Hardcover (368 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:      The name is Bond, Shaman Bond. Better known as Drood, Eddie Drood Yes, I’m one of those Droods—the family who’ve been keeping the forces of evil contained in the shadows for as long as humans have walked the earth.      Recently, I suffered a slight case of death, but thanks to Molly, my best girl (who happens to be a powerful witch), I got over that right quick. Unfortunately, my family wasn’t so lucky. In my absence, Drood Hall was destroyed and all my relatives were killed. Which left me as the Last of the Droods.       I didn’t much like being The Last Drood, I can tell you—and then I realized that things weren’t as they seemed. Someone had activated a dimensional engine, sending my Drood Hall off to an alternate Earth, replacing it with a burnt-out doppelganger. My family is still alive out there. Somewhere.      And nothing’s going to stop me from finding them… What G & U are talking about:      Live and Let Drood is the sixth novel in the delightful Secret Histories series.  Mr. Green continues to write a witty and exciting adventure with Eddie and Molly in the forefront.  Eddie Drood and Molly Metcalf have returned from a much-needed vacation to discover that everyone at Drood Hall is either missing or dead.  They must discover who is responsible for this horrific deed without letting the world know that it has happened.  The Drood family has, for time immemorial stood between humanity and that which goes bump in the night.  The disappearance of the Drood family would allow these various forces to run rampant.  Unfortunately, the powerful people best positioned to assist Molly and Eddie in their quest must be avoided since they are the same people who would rush to fill the vacuum of power created by Drood family’s disappearance.      One of the best aspects of these Secret History Novels is the interaction between the characters.  Although this one starts out a little slow (since his family – a fabulous gathering of the “peanut gallery” are missing/dead), once Molly and Eddie are on the hunt, it picks up.  The adventure and mystery is gripping and incredibly entertaining.    ...
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Jun
15

Review & Giveaway: The Taken by Vicki Pettersson

Review & Giveaway: The Taken by Vicki Pettersson The Taken Author: Vicki Pettersson   Release Date: June 12, 2012 Publisher: Harper Voyager Series:  The Celestial Blues #1 ISBN: #978-0062064649 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): paperback, e-book, audio Book Source: Publisher About the book: Griffin Shaw used to be a private investigator, but that was back when gumshoes hoofed the streets . . . and he was still alive. Fifty years later, he’s an angel, but that doesn’t make him a saint. One small mistake has altered fate, and now he’s been dumped back onto the mortal mudflat to collect another soul—Katherine “Kit” Craig, a journalist whose latest investigation is about to get her clipped. Bucking heavenly orders, Grif refuses to let the sable-haired siren come to harm. Besides, protecting her offers a chance to solve the mystery of his own unsolved murder—and dole out some overdue payback for the death of his beloved wife, Evie. Joining forces, Kit and Grif’s search for answers leads beyond the blinding lights of the Strip into the dark heart of an evil conspiracy. But a ruthless killer determined to destroy them isn’t Grif’s biggest threat. His growing attraction to Kit could cost them both their lives, along with the answer to the haunting question of his long afterlife… What Nima’s talking about: The Taken is the first book by Vicki Pettersson I’ve read.  Without prior experience with this author, I had no expectations going in.  I appreciate fantasy because it makes me think; it’s like exercise for my brain to willfully suspend my disbelief and embrace the world created for me on its own terms.  I haven’t read a lot of urban fantasy, preferring to keep my vampires, changelings and werewolves in alternate universes, but I think it’s appropriate for religious characters like angels to cross over into contemporary scenarios. Pettersson introduces us first to Griffin “Grif” Shaw.  He’s dead.  Not something I expected in the first two pages.  Ok, I’m tentatively hooked. Grif is a low level angel tasked with the job of “taking” or escorting those who have died a violent death to the Everlast where their worldly worries, cares, and even bad memories are wiped away.  The first chapter describes the violent death of Nicole Rockwell; she is Grif’s Take.  It is during this Take that he does something against the rules and seals the fate of Nicole’s best friend, Kathryn “Kit” Craig.  As punishment for what he has done, Kit is Grif’s next Take.  We further discover in that first chapter...
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May
30

Review: Vengeance Moon by Lee Roland

Review: Vengeance Moon by Lee Roland Vengeance Moon Author: Lee Roland  Release Date: June 5, 2012 Publisher: Signet Earth Witches #2 ISBN: #978-0451236432 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (352 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Revenge is unleashed under the light of the moon… “On my seventeenth birthday, my mother’s last gift to me was a vision of death—and a curse…” Madeline Corso can’t rest until she hunts down the three unknown assailants who killed her father and witch mother. Two of them are now dead by her hand. But the third eludes her while she serves time with the Sisters of Justice—a mysterious order of female warriors with ties to her mother. The Sisters have tracked the last murderer to Duivel, Missouri, and the dark underworld of the Barrows. But Madeline’s release is contingent on her fulfillment of a mission for the Sisters. Madeline doesn’t question them, but once in the Barrows, she discovers that things aren’t what they seem. Can she rely on Michael, a handsome and enigmatic local businessman, to help her navigate a world of men and beasts? Or will she lose her heart before the mission is complete? What G & U are talking about: Vengeance Moon is the riveting second novel in the new Earth Witches series.  Lee Roland has crafted a dark and intriguing world, one that is as gripping in its action and suspense as it is in its passion.  You do not have to read the first book in the series, Viper Moon, but it would give you better background on the mythology (not to mention, it was really good, review HERE and a snippet HERE). In the previous novel, Viper Moon, the huntress, Cassandra, fulfills the purpose the Earth Mother has given her.  In Vengeance Moon, we have a new heroine and hero.  We were introduced to our hero, Michael, in the preceding novel.  He is an unlikely hero, but we hope there is more to him than meets the eye. Madeline, our heroine, is a very complicated character.  A spell cast by her dead mother caused her to witness the final moments of her life and to be consumed to seek vengeance against her mother’s killers.  Madeline’s personality has been tainted by the pursuit of her mother’s killers.  The overwhelming drive for vengeance overshadows everything in poor Madeline’s life.  She has been trained to become a perfect Sister of Justice – women who keep earth witches, who are blessed with great magic, from...
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May
23

Review: Lies & Omens by Lyn Benedict

Review: Lies & Omens by Lyn Benedict Lies & Omens Author: Lyn Benedict  Release Date: April 24, 2012 Publisher: Ace Shadows Inquiries #4 ISBN: #978-1937007508 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (320 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Sylvie Lightner is a P.I. specializing in the unusual—in a world where magic is real, and Hell is just around the corner. After escaping secret government cells and destroying a Miami landmark, Sylvie’s trying to lay low—something that gets easier when a magical force starts taking out her enemies. But these magical attacks are a risk to bystanders, and Sylvie can’t let that slide.    When the war between the government and the magical world threatens the three people closest to her—her assistant, her sister, and her lover—Sylvie has no choice but to get involved with hidden powers bent on shaping the world to their liking. Now, with death and disaster on the horizon, even if Sylvie wins, things will never be the same…   What G & U are talking about: Lies & Omens is the fourth novel in Shadow Inquiries series.  Sylvia is still trying to understand the ramifications of her actions in the previous novel, Gods & Monsters.  She killed Lilith, created a new god out of a fury, and watched the death and resurrection of her boyfriend, Demalion.  You’d think she might catch a break after going through all of this, but no…it seems the fates are conspiring against her.  This does, however, lead to a new beginning – one we are eager to read more about! The interplay between Sylvia and the other characters continues to keep us interested.  Her snarkiness and brashness help to ground her.  It is very easy to identify with Sylvia despite the supernatural experiences she finds herself in.  Her decision-making process when she is stuck between a rock and a hard place is humanizing.  We especially loved seeing the interplay between her and Erinya, the fury-turned-god.  In Lies & Omens Sylvia sees the total cost of what her choice to make Erinya a god is doing, not just to Sylvia but also to the world.  She must try to fix what Erinya is doing to the world, heal Lupe (an out of control shape-shifter), learn to deal with Demalion and his new body, cure an amnesia epidemic, and end the war that has seems to have been declared on the ISI. Gikany and Una would highly recommend a reread of the previous novel, Gods & Monsters.  We found...
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May
2

Review: Sins of the Son

Review: Sins of the Son Sins of the Son Author: Linda Poitevin  Release Date: March 27, 2012 Publisher: ACE The Grigori Legacy #2 ISBN: #978-1937007379 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (352 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: A detective with a secret… When homicide detective Alexandra Jarvis sees a photo of Seth Benjamin on a police bulletin, she knows that Heaven’s plan to halt Armageddon has gone terribly wrong.  As the only mortal aware of Seth’s true nature, only she can save him. An exiled angel turned assassin… Aramael was a hunter of Fallen Angels until a traitor forced him into earthly exile.  Now, with no powers and only a faint memory of Alex, his mortal soulmate, he will stop at nothing to redeem himself – even if it means destroying Seth in the name of the Creator. A world with little chance of redemption… As Alex’s need to protect Seth sets her on a fiery course with the determined Aramael, the coming conflict between them may push the world over the edge – and into the very chaos they’re trying to prevent. What G & U are talking about: Sins of the Son is the second novel in this new Grigori Legacy series.  Ms. Poitevin delivers another riveting novel in this world of angels and humans.  As the world seems to charge recklessly towards Armageddon – Lucifer’s desire – there are those working relentlessly to prevent it…even if it means going behind the Creator’s back. The previous novel, Sins of the Angels, concentrated on setting up the mythology and the plight of humans and angels.  In this novel, we truly get into the politics of the Creator and of the Fallen Angels, led by Lucifer.  We love the continuing theme of free will that permeates this world in so many ways.  There is not just a political commentary you see but also one on the nature of humanity.  This series can be read on several different levels, which lends itself well to a book club.  It will spawn much discussion beyond religious beliefs and views. Alex is an engaging main character.  Although “mostly” human and therefore considered weak, she rises to the occasion.  She is not a religious woman, but she does believe in right and wrong.  She strives to help her fellow man to the best of her ability, even if it means a terrible sacrifice.  It is easy to be drawn to her and Ms. Poitevin does an excellent...
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